For starters I almost did not go see this movie. I heard the news about Liam Neeson’s comments and I considered seeing Prodigy instead. But I did my research first, Neeson told a story where he previous held a racist value. Where he was angry after a loved one was raped and wanted revenge. For a week he wanted to hurt someone based solely on the color of their skin and then he realized the incredible stupidity of his actions and stopped. When you hear the whole story, a very nuanced conversation about a thirty year old incident and the bigotry and racism present in Northern Ireland in the past and today. He discuss the horror of thinking the way he did. By taking a part of the statement out of context you lose the point of the statement and the chance to have a true conversation about racial bias. In this case I don’t believe boycotting Liam Neeson’s films will do any good or serve any purpose but to stop anyone from discussing their thoughts about race for fear of becoming a sound bite that is misunderstood.
Now for my review of Cold Pursuit:
This is a movie about fathers and sons. Liam Neeson plays a Father who looses his son to an apparent heroin over dose. His wife, played by Laura Dern, so readily believes this lie I have to wonder what kind of relationship this family had to begin with. At the begining of the movie Liam Neeson is given the Man of the Year award (or equivalent) for the town of KeHo outside of Denver, Colorado. We see the Husband and wife having dinner and getting ready. They seem like a loving happy couple. The son stopps by and uses the bathroom, but doesn’t stay for dinner, he is just saying hello. Things seem normal and happy. There is no evidence of a strained relationship, so why is the mother so quick to believe her son is a junky and get angry with her husband for not recognizing the signs? Grief may make people do crazy things, but to just immediately accept everyone in you life has let you down, has lied to you? I didn’t get it.
I did however completely understand Liam Neeson’s character! Here is not a slick killer with skills, but just a really angry father who quietly kills his way to the top. In every chapter after the sons death we have another death, though we do not see them all, we begin to wait for each so we can understand how it will lead us to our two main fathers finally meeting in their ultimate confrontation.
Liam’s foil in this fight, played by Tom Bateman, is Trevor “Viking” Calcote. A vicious, controlling drug dealer who cares only about himself and his son. How does he show how he cares about his son? By controlling him. We are introduced to father and son on their way to school. Ryan does not want to go because he is being bullied. Viking tells him “Know what a bully is, it’s a chance to prove your metal.”
Ryan answers, “You think I should hit him? That’s not a good idea.” Viking, “Why” Ryan “Because then I’ll be as stupid as he is.” Just shows the smartest character in the movie is going to be the youngest. Will his father figure out who is killing of his dealers and put a stop the killing before it gets to him or will he become the final victim? Man you really hope so!
A third party, a native American drug gang is brought into the mix, headed by White Bull, our third father. White bull is played by Tom Jackson. He brings into the mix an angry and tired drug lord with nothing to lose. He has made his fortune and now lost his only son. Now only vengeance will satisfy. Will the final confrontation give him justice or death?
The violence in the movie is balanced with wonderfully dark comedic moments that don’t over power it. Though there is nothing ground breaking or new here the movie is good. I cared about the characters, except the mother, and wanted to know what would happen next. I was never surprised but Cold pursuit is worth checking out. It is one of Liam Neeson’s better movies as of late.
Cold Pursuit US Release Date 2/8/2019
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Staring: Liam Neeson, lAura Dern, Micheal Richardson, Tom Bateman, Domienick Lombardozzi and Tom Jackson
Production Company: StudioCanal